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Sept. 26, 2021

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Bay teacher’s story helps Oprah make a point

Campaign designed to prevent deaths like Patterson's

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Flowers, cards and mementos were left near the site where Hudson's Bay teacher Gordon Patterson was killed while riding his bicycle on Sept.
Flowers, cards and mementos were left near the site where Hudson's Bay teacher Gordon Patterson was killed while riding his bicycle on Sept. 15. Photo Gallery

To view the clip, visit: http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html. Scroll down, and the clip is toward the bottom of the page under the headline, “Former student kills teacher while texting.”

The death last year of a Hudson’s Bay teacher is being featured on Oprah Winfrey’s website as part of her new “No Phone Zone” campaign.

The video clip, a little over a minute in length, honors the life of Gordon Patterson, a teacher killed in a Sept. 15 traffic crash by a distracted driver sending a text message.

Antonio Cellestine was sentenced Jan. 22 to five years in prison for hit-and-run and vehicular homicide. Patterson, 50, was lawfully riding his bike on Northeast St. Johns Road when he was struck.

Patterson’s story is among several throughout the United States featured on Oprah’s website as part of the star’s campaign urging motorists not to text while driving.

To view the clip, visit: http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html. Scroll down, and the clip is toward the bottom of the page under the headline, "Former student kills teacher while texting."

The clip features photos of the popular teacher in his signature white lab coat, photos of the traffic crash and courtroom photos of Cellestine.

Patterson’s wife, Carrie, said the show’s producers originally planned to air Patterson’s segment on the TV show, but “said they thought it would get more exposure this way.”

“I was really pleased with it,” she said. “I thought they did a good job.”

Carrie Patterson offers the clip’s narration: “When I arrived at the scene of the accident, my heart dropped,” she said.

She describes how Patterson was much-loved by students and their three children, saying his death was senseless and preventable. “Because of a text message, my children lost their father,” she said in the clip.

The campaign urges celebrities and private citizens alike to sign a pledge they will not text and drive. Winfrey also plans to launch a public service announcement to educate Americans about the deadly driving habits that kill nearly 6,000 people a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Students and faculty of Hudson’s Bay High School have already latched on to the crusade. Signed “No Phone Zone” pledges are plastered on the walls in the school’s hallways.

This growing movement is exactly why Carrie Patterson decided to share her story with the TV show.

“If we can help this (tragedy) being avoided by anyone else I’m willing to make that possible,” she said.

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